Hungary is situated in the heart of Europe and it covers an area of 93,000 square kilometers. It has a population of 10 million inhabitants and has been a republic since 1989.
Most of the country is flat. The biggest river is the Danube, which extends 470 kilometers in Hungary. The highest point is a peak in the Mátra Mountains called Kékestetõ, 1015 metres above the sea level. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe, and its surface is almost 600 square kilometres. It is a popular holiday resort.
The climate is temperate, with distinct seasons. The temperature may rise above 30 degrees in summer, while in winter it may fall as low as -20 degrees.
The capital is Budapest, the „Pearl of the Danube", with about 2 million inhabitants. It is the political, economic, commercial and cultural centre.
While Hungary is one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in central Europe (90% of the population are Magyars), it has a number of different minorities.
Hungary is predominantly Christian, with Roman Catholics making up the majority, followed by Calvinists and Lutherans.
The country has been the member of the European Union since 2004, and the part of the Schengen area since 2008.
The school year starts at the beginning of September and finishes in June, and it is divided into two terms.The first term ends at the end of January. There is a short autumn holiday at the end of October and around Easter, and there is about a two-week holiday at Christmas.
The table manners are European. Breakfast is usually a quick meal, lunch consists of 2-3 courses and it is eaten between 12-2 p.m.(but for some people just snacks or sandwiches), dinner could be a big or a small meal depending on the lunch and on the person, and it is eaten between 6-8 p.m.
TIPS FOR FOREIGNERS
WHAT'S YOUR NAME?
On business cards and the like the surname precedes the first name.
Handshakes are the common gestures of greeting, no matter how well you know someone.
Some Hungarians tend to be passionate and state their opinions in direct terms, sometimes in lively and heated discussions while others could be a bit reserved.
Expect to be offered a lot of food and drink when you enter someone's house. Don't worry about it, just taste a little amount of everything that you would like to
Hi! – Szia!
Good Morning! – Jó reggelt! (from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.) / Jó napot! (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Good evening! – Jó estét!
Good night! – Jó éjt!
Yes. – Igen.
No. – Nem.
Thank you. – Köszönöm.
You're welcome. – Szívesen.
How are you? – Hogy vagy?
Fine, thank you. – Köszönöm, jól.
And you? – És te?
Excuse me!– Elnézést!
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What others thought of their trip to Hungary?
Kirsi, Finland "I'm very happy that I had the courage to go to Hungary all by myself. I learned so much about the culture and history of the place! I think Hungary is a wonderful vacation place because it is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and it has so much sightseeing! Even when I saw at least two sightseeings a day, I didn't see even a half of what the city has to offer..." Franziska, Germany "I am very happy that I did this exchange and I would recommend to simply everybody to do as many exchanges as possible while it is possible because later on you will never again have the chance to see other countries and cultures for such little money. It is a very rich experience as you get to know a variety of people, tradition and lifestyle and it really broadens your horizon." Davide, Italy "This experience was very useful for me. I think the aim of this experience is not only to improve your English but also to know a new culture; in fact after it I think you have got an “open mind”. I learned to live without the help of my parents. In this week I could see many Hungarian habits, some better than the Italian ones (to listen for example) and some others strange for me. (...) I recommend an ESN exchange to all those who love travelling or want to improve their English..."
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